“Mailer Visits CIA and Finds He’s in Friendly Territory. Really.” Article-interview by Elaine Sciolino. New York Times, 3 February, Sec. A, p. 10. Report of Mailer’s visit to the CIA in Washington where he gave a standing-room-only lecture to 500 officials, and then later met with top officials in the private conference room of Robert M. Gates, CIA Director. Various CIA officials are quoted on the accuracy of Harlot’s Ghost (91.26), and Mailer tells Sciolino that with the end of the Cold War, “the CIA can get out of the beartrap of ideology and begin to provide serious and needed intelligence on the rest of the world.”
“TV Weekend: Mailer Plugs Himself Instead of His Book.” Article by Walter Goodman. New York Times, 24 January, Sec. C, p. 28. Another advance report on Mailer’s 24 January television interview with David Frost. Goodman provides a few quotes and a summary of topics: the stabbing of his second wife, Adele, the Jack Abbott affair, his notion of an embattled God, feminism, sex, AIDS, the 60s, and American politics. Of the interview, one of the very best Mailer has given on television, Goodman says: “There is a high intelligence operating along with a sometimes original perspective; at his most engaging, he manages to be off the wall and on the mark at the same time.” See 92.2.
“Norman Mailer: An Interview.” By Helmut Sorge. Der Speigel, 19 January, 1, 12. The interview focuses on America’s social and cultural decline. Mailer says that the end of the Cold War “is going to introduce some interesting problems for capitalism that demand a fundamental reassessment because American capitalism has lost a wonderful old friend,” i.e., communism.
“Chronicle: David Frost Goes a Round with Norman Mailer.” Column by Marvine Howe. New York Times, 17 January, Sec. B, p. 6. Consists of a couple of brief quotes taken from the transcript of Mailer’s television interview with David Frost. When Frost suggested that Mailer was “a sort of literary Frank Sinatra,” Mailer laughed and said, “That’s a remark that will make Sinatra as unhappy as it makes me.” “Talking with David Frost” aired on PBS a week later on 24 January. See 92.3.
“Waiting for the Big One.” Article-interview by Gregory Feely. Million: The Magazine about Popular Fiction (U.K.), no. 7 (January-February), 38-42. The focus of Feeley’s comments and questions in this important piece is the many novels Mailer planned but did not write, including the “big novel” he worked on in the late 1950s, the sequels to Ancient Evenings (83.18), the biker novel he started in 1966, and an autobiographical novel which had its origins, Mailer says, in “the saga of the Mailer family back in Russia with my grandfather as I imagined him. He abandoned it after reading the novels of Isaac Bashevis Singer.
“Mailer’s Many Lives.” Article-interview by Julia Braun Kessler. Life: The World and I, January, 332-39. Mailer comments on Harlot’s Ghost (91.26) in this piece, which contains several errors, the most notable being that Mailer served four years as a rifleman in WWII (he served 25 months in the army); and that The Naked and the Dead (48.2) was accepted by Little, Brown (they turned it down). Mailer says that his
own key experiences are exactly what I will not use directly. They can instead form crystals in the mind and the heart so that metaphorically I can shine a light through them. I can get one story if the light points in one direction, and yet another for the opposite. That is why I have always wanted to do books not too near me, books that take me out to distant, alien landscapes, places where I have an insight and where the event can have a life, a psychological reality within my imagination.